PNA suspends contacts with U.S. over closure of PLO Washington office

The Palestine Liberation Organization office is seen in Washington U.S

The Palestine Liberation Organization office is seen in Washington U.S

The Palestinians have frozen all meetings with the United States after it chose to close their representative office in Washington, officials said on Tuesday.

Following the initial USA announcement about the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the Israeli prime minister's office issued a statement saying, "we respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the USA to advance peace and security in the region".

The PLO, which the global community sees as representing all Palestinians, must have its permission to operate premises in the USA capital renewed by the State Department every six months. "The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice".

The Trump administration announced Friday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' call on the International Criminal Court in September to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials for settlement activity and aggression against Palestinians had triggered a USA law that could lead to the closure.

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"This is temporary until they clarify to us, if the office is closed or open".

Earlier on Tuesday, Malki told the PA's official radio station, the Voice of Palestine, that the USA administration was reconsidering its decision to close down the PLO office due to the threat by the Palestinian leadership to freeze contacts. The certification must be renewed every six months.

This Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 photo shows the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In 2015, the US Congress introduced a provision that Palestinians may not try to wield influence over the ICC concerning investigations into Israelis.

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Trump's senior envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, have held multiple meetings with Palestinian Authority leaders in the past year, but amid the latest events, any progress and will now be in jeopardy.

"The upcoming stage is crucial and a chance to correct the Palestinian-American relations", he said, adding the Palestinian decision "was made in response to the unaccepted American measures".

There is a 90-day period for Trump to consider whether the Palestinians are engaged in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" before any decision is taken.

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